S.M.I.L.E. is an acronym that came to me during my son’s bedtime routine when I was in the middle of a panic attack. (Yes, anxiety as a mom is rough.) Though I hate panic attacks, this one taught me a valuable lesson. I learned that even while stuck in bed, I could use my mind to create safety and peace. That evening I began by being present and grateful I had a son to look after, as I noticed his dark hair, long eyelashes, and little hands. I quietly began to sing “You are my Sunshine” to him and felt a little more joy as I saw him smile. I felt prompted by the Spirit to think of more things I could do or think about to bring joy that would form the acronym S.M.I.L.E. One thought at a time, the answers came and I carried them out. I faced my darkness and was able to deescalate my spiraling emotions while getting my son to bed calmly – a big deal for any mom but especially a depressed one! <3

Since that night, S.M.I.L.E.’s helped me find peace in all sorts of manic moments. I use it daily! First, it reminds me to literally smile, which releases positive endorphins to begin some chemically prompted mental cheering up. Yup, endorphins tell our brain to relax and that can naturally help us chill.

But S.M.I.L.E. also reminds me to…

See the Good

There is a silver lining to everything. Be brave enough to see it and hold onto it.

Make Magic Moments

Take a walk. Turn to those you love. Just breathe, say a prayer, and know you are a priceless child of God. Watch your favorite movie or comedy sketch (this one is a favorite of mine), even if you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it! Do ANYTHING to help you FEEL something positive again.

Isolate the Issue

What are you really stressing about? Maybe it’s the laundry heap…or maybe it’s that you feel inadequate. Maybe there’s a deeper root to the anger than the kids forgetting to replace the toilet paper again. Find the reason, dig it out, and make peace with it. Then never let that weed take root in the beautiful garden of your mind again. Or at least be ready with some quick mental weed killer!

Listen to Loving Thoughts

Please, PLEASE, if there’s anything from this you remember, let it be “Listen to Loving Thoughts.” Love yourself, right now, as you are. No matter what you’ve done or haven’t done – YOU are worth being loved! YOU ARE! A million-dollar ring is worth a million dollars even if it doesn’t think it is or it’s a little less than polished. Listen to the loving words of those who believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself. Listen to the love that comes through music, a warm breeze, a laugh, or a kind thought. In my opinion, even healthy foods show love to us! Love is all around you. You just need to let it in by listening to and thinking those loving thoughts yourself. LOVE YOU!

Endure to Enjoy

Maybe what you’re going through isn’t going to end soon. Maybe it won’t change. OK. But YOU can. YOU can become stronger. YOU can handle it. Maybe not alone. It might mean finding new support and making some happy habits like my M&M’s. Keep them simple and start small. Try again when you fail, even if it’s hard. But no matter what, believe you CAN endure. You CAN find a way to come out on top and enjoy life while you are enduring chronic challenges. I promise you can. Because if I can, anyone can. ((HUGS))

Now when I’m scared or doubt, I know I’m not alone. You aren’t either. We’ve got this. God’s got this. Just remember to S.M.I.L.E.!